Fredrick Rhuel Kelly (1943 - 2018)

Obituary
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Fredrick Rheul Kelly
January 8, 1943 - June 5, 2018
Fred Kelly died at home on June 5, 2018 after a long and brave battle with COPD. He was 75.
Fred was born in Boise, Idaho on January 8, 1943 to Virgil and Margaret Kelly. He moved with his family to the Central Valley of California when he was 7, eventually settling in Modesto and living there until his retirement in 2008.
In 1960, after attending Downey High, Fred joined the Navy, spending four years leading a team of air craft mechanics whose winter station was at Naval Air Station Fallon in northern Nevada, where, as an avid dirt-bike rider, he learned to love the high desert. Upon leaving the Navy in 1964, Fred returned to Modesto, attending Modesto Junior College on and off through 1979, earning an AA degree in 1969. Fred had a varied early career. He was a well-known motorcycle mechanic, teaching motorcycle maintenance at MJC and working at Burke's Honda and later Modesto Honda. A private and commercial pilot, Fred offered charter flights out of the old Gottschalk's Flight Center. He served as comptroller for Miller Manufacturing, building pre-fabricated homes, and a production manager at Avila Manufacturing, producing dairy stanchions. Fred was a well-loved scuba diving instructor, teaching scuba for many years at the Modesto YMCA and later at Aqua Tech Dive Center (where, in 1978, he met his wife of almost 39 years, Tina Carlsen). He also spent time as a commercial diver in Monterey.
Fred began a 23-year career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1985. As a mechanical engineering associate, Fred supported numerous high-profile projects, including the last down-hole nuclear test shots at the Nevada Test Site. He was particularly proud of his work with the Forensic Science Center, which led to numerous patents, and his work on nuclear counter-terrorism and response, where he developed response technologies for nuclear disablement and trained Army response teams on their use. Fred prided himself on being able to solve problems others could not.
Fred was also an avid skier and hiker, enjoying hiking over Sonora Pass into Levitt Meadows and participating in ski races at Dodge Ridge. He also enjoyed flying friends and family throughout California and Nevada, trips which could often prove unexpectedly exciting. Fred and Tina frequently travelled throughout the southwest in their beloved motorhome. Fred learned to play Irish whistle and pipes in his later years, becoming active in the Modesto Irish music scene and playing in the local band Greenstone with Tina and other area musicians.
Fred returned to northern Nevada after retiring in 2008, moving with Tina to Minden. There he enjoyed riding his numerous motorcycles and four-wheeler, and hanging out with his buddies swapping old stories. Fred was also the number one fan of the local Irish music band, Ciana, with whom Tina plays fiddle. During his final years, Tina took him regularly to lunch at local restaurants, where the staff loved him and treated him like family.
Fred is survived by his wife Tina, who cared for him at home until his death; sister Kathleen Lander; nieces Kelly Ann Winter and Julia Lander; nephews Robert Kelly and Jim Kelly; son Kevin Kelly and grand-daughter Renee Kelly. He was preceded in death by his parents, step-mother Lillian Kelly, and brothers Roland, Verland and Charles.
A celebration of Fred's life will be held on June 19 in the gazebo at 1869 David Walley's Hot Springs and Resort in Genoa, Nevada at 3 pm, followed by an Irish wake. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent the in Fred's name.
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Funeral Home
Walton's Funerals & Cremations, Gardnerville
1521 Church Street
Gardnerville, NV 89410
775-783-9312
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Published in the Modesto Bee from June 13 to June 17, 2018
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